Daylight savings time approaches once again! Time measurement has always been based on the position of the sun (some of the first ‘timepieces’ were sundials), and noon was always when the sun was at it’s highest (always a local phenomena). Although this way of determining time of day (called Apparent Solar Time) works locally, it plays havoc with travelers, who is the early days of travel would have to reset their watches sometimes more than 5 times along a thirty mile ride. In fact, the transportation industry is partially responsible for Daylight Saving Time as we know it (and in the U.S. it is currently regulated and changed as necessary by the Department of Transportation), and they have been since it was first instituted anywhere in the world, back in 1840 with the English railroads adoption of London time. It’s origins go back even farther, to around the time of Benjamin Franklin. Because the Earth’s orbit takes it further from the sun in the wintertime, he noted differing periods of day and night based on his clock and suggested an adjustment for the first time.
So how do railroad timetables and extra darkness help us at home? Because it gives us a reliable method of scheduling maintenance that can be performed while changing our clocks to reflect the ‘new’ time of day. Smoke Detectors should be checked for service monthly, but we ask that all residents replace their batteries twice a year, and we selected the Daylight Saving Time for this (this year-the date we change our clocks and Smoke Detector batteries is March 14th, by the way).

Keeping track of time and safety is easier when combined into a single task, and we ask you to also check the age of your Smoke Detectors and see how long they have been in your house. Smoke Detectors are most efficient in the first six or so years of life, and many of them have expiration dates to reflect when components are worn out and are no longer considered reliable. Many newer detectors have a series of pre-programmed alarms or chirps to tell you when one of these deadlines is approaching, but better safe than sorry, always visually inspect your detector and replace the batteries.

Time of day is different depending on your location in the world, but safety never takes time off, so take a moment on November 3rd to check those detectors and change their batteries!